Monthly Archives: December 2010

Ask an expert about photography

The other day I had the privilege to sit in an after school activity with Aloha Lavina about photography.  It was an enlightening experience as she is a professional photographer and had a lot of immediate tips for a beginning photographer.  Some of them I would like to share with you, plus add a few of my own.

Tip 1. Holding a camera:

  • Use your right hand to hold the right hand side of the camera.  Use your index finger to press and release the shutter button.
  • The positioning of your left hand will sit underneath the camera or under/around a lens if you have a DSLR.
  • Tuck your elbows into your sides.
  • Have the camera close to your body if using the viewfinder which will add extra stability.  If you’re using the LCD make sure you don’t hold your camera too far away from you.
  • Add extra stability by leaning against a solid object like a wall or a tree or by sitting or kneeling down.

Tip 2. Breath properly:

  • Before you take your shot take a gentle but deep breath, hold it, then take the shot and exhale.  This is the most relaxed moment we can get and therefore also the steadiest.

Tip 3. Rules of Thirds:

  • Stop placing your subject matter directly into the center of the photo.
  • Place them in: top-right, bottom right, top-left or bottom-left corners.
  • See this website for more details.

Tip 4. Macros vs Landscape:

  • The macro setting is for super-close-up photos.  The depth of field is narrow, which means that most things that are not directly focused upon will be out of focus.
  • The landscape setting will allow for total focus of everything within view.

Tip 5. Get in close:

  • For a close-up, get in close, and then get in a little closer again to your subject.  You don’t need to be on macro settings, but beware of the focus and the composition.

Tip 6. Choose a different Angle:

  • Try shooting from an angle you wouldn’t normally shoot from.  Get down on the ground for a worm’s eye-view or try standing on a chair to look down at the subject.  The stand-point-and-shoot shot is very boring for the viewer.

Tip 7. Always put someone in the photo when traveling:

  • Unless the shots are meant to be printed out in large format for artistic purposes, put someone into the photos for reflection later.  Most photos are less interesting for the audience when they are an assortment of nothing but landscape or cityscape shots.  You and your friends as subjects make it more fun for everyone.

Tip 8: Using a Flash:

  • Distance?  Don’t use a flash from more than 10-15 ft away from the subject.
  • Windows?  Don’t use a flash.  Be as steady as possible, ideally with a tripod to avoid camera shake.

Tip 9, 10, 11 and more: See this website for more tips about composition, panning, night and winter photography, lighting and other stuff.

Choosing a camera is another blog entry I talk about since many people ask me about it.

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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Design, Education


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The MAC | PC debate

In a colleagues class, students were writing debates.  The students were allowed to create their own topic.  One student decided the “MAC versus PC” debate.  He decided to come ask me, “Which is better?”

“It’s not that simple,” I said.  For example, which Mac are you comparing to which PC?  At present Apple has the MacBook, MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, and the Mac Pro.  As well, there are a plethora of PCs tailored specifically to gaming, business, multimedia and cost.  In usual fashion, and even though most Mac owners do not like to admit it, the tailored PC is better suited for its purpose.

What is it then that people like about Mac computers?  Back in the day it was the graphical user interface with the Apple “Lisa” vs a PCs MS-DOS system.  There was also the “out of the bag” aspect that Mac has always had compared to a PC.  PCs needed most software installed.  The Mac didn’t.  Mac continues this “loaded applications on arrival” philosophy today.

The “Macintosh” developed slow clientele, but the introduction of the laser-writer printer and Pagemaker meant it was a desktop publishing machine for a home user.  Graphic designers flocked to it, considering it the machine of choice for a long time.

Mac supposedly released Firewire and the palmtop.  But even Firewire was a company acquired from Zayante. It was thought that Apple also invented such things as the trackpad on laptop, the mouse, multitouch, accelerometers, and the USB.  However, most of these innovations were created by other companies, adopted by Apple, tweaked, released and then marketed well.  See this article for more information relating to the misconceptions.

For an excellent history of apple releases with a neat time line, check out this CNet article.

Back to the question, “Which is better?”  I stick with my original posit that each computer has its advantages.  The PC seems better for gaming, modifying, over-clocking, software availability, budget and uniqueness.

Mac users like the start up speed, Safari Browser (Chrome is giving Mac a run), multiple applications loaded out of the box, superior editing and graphic production software, simplicity, and the idea that fewer malicious programs are written for it.  However, the botnet virus has some users feeling unsafe.

Things change daily in the world of electronics.  Advertising has a lot to do with it all.   It comes down to personal choice.  Note: Every computer coming out of the shops today has more than enough power, space, and speed for the uninitiated user’s needs.  They can all handle tasks like email, videos, word processing.  These should no longer be concerns for someone looking to buy a computer.  If you feel happy with the computer you are using, then this is the one that is better than the other.  Good luck.

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Posted by on December 5, 2010 in Technology


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